Jon Leicester was hammered for the third straight start, giving up six runs (five earned) in five innings as Iowa lost 7-2 at Oklahoma. His ERA climbed above seven points after allowing his 19th earned run over his last three outings. To be fair, Leicester (1-4, 7.24) would have had to remain near untouchable anyway since the offense managed only four hits and scored their only runs unearned.
David Kelton's 10-game hitting streak recently came to a close, but he scored one of the team's two runs and tallied one of their four hits as well. Kelton is still batting above .400 in July for easily his most productive month of the season. He trails only Calvin Murray for the team's best batting average with a .297 clip through 90 games.
West Tenn Notes
Brandon Sing's two home runs were enough to help Ricky Nolasco overcome another rough first inning in a 10-6 win at Montgomery. Sing hit his 19th and 20th homers of the year, respectively. Since being left off the Southern League all-star roster on June 29, he is batting .371 with six home runs and 20 RBIs.
Luis Montanez picked up three hits for his first multi-hit night since his West Tenn debut a week ago. He doubled twice and picked up his first career AA home run.
For his part, Nolasco (9-1, 3.43) gave up four first-inning runs for the second straight start. It's the only inning this year in which the right-hander has surrendered double-digit earned runs. He fanned seven to up his season strikeout total to a league best 120 and is only 24 strikeouts shy of passing his 2004 total of 143 between West Tenn and Iowa.
Another day, another doubleheader for Daytona. The Cubs won game one 8-0 before falling in game two, 2-1. In the first game, a continuation from Thursday night, Daytona erupted for all eight runs on eight hits in the 10th inning. Carlos Rojas and recently promoted outfielder Jeff Culpepper each drove in two runs. Rojas was one of four players to notch two hits in game one, joining most notably Brian Dopirak and center fielder Chris Walker. Walker is now batting .380 over his last 24 games and .311 for the year.
Pitching-wise, Randy Wells turned in a solid performance on Thursday night and Lee Gwaltney picked up right where he left off on Friday. Wells allowed five hits in five innings while Gwaltney hurled two shutout innings, striking out four of the six batters he faced. Left-hander Clay Rapada got his first win in relief despite allowing three hits in two innings. Rapada (1-2, 4.76) picked up his first victory since last August 13 at Lansing.
Game two starter Yorkin Ferreras posted his second straight solid outing, surrendering a run and five hits in six innings. He has gone six innings in back-to-back starts, in which he has allowed four earned runs while striking out 12. Left-hander Jordan Gerk picked up the loss. Despite a rough start to the year, Gerk (2-4, 4.18) has a 2.92 ERA over his last 30 appearances.
Center fielder Sam Fuld picked up his third two-hit performance over the last three games in the Chiefs' 7-2 losing effort at Lansing. Fuld's 11-for-64 start to the year seems like a distant memory to the past two months, in which he is batting .322 over 50 games. His .283 overall average now ranks second on the team behind only Eric Patterson – the league leader with a .334 mark – and injured first baseman Alberto Garcia (.316). Patterson drove in the Chiefs' only runs with his 19th double. He ranks second on the team with 48 RBIs among active Peoria players.
Starter Chris Shaver suffered his seventh loss, one behind Jesse Estrada and Matt Weber for the team lead. Shaver (3-7, 4.31) gave up three earned runs and four hits in six innings. He struck out five and walked one to add to his season total of 45 walks--most on his team. Shaver's last win came on June 14, now spanning a string of six starts without a victory.
Darin Downs had certainly pitched well enough to earn the Hawks a victory in his previous two outings before Friday night. Downs (3-2, 2.16) gave up just one run for the third straight start, striking out five without allowing a walk in a 7-5 win over Yakima. His only blemish in a season long six innings was a solo home run in the third frame.
Elvin Puello tripled twice to drive in two runs and extend his hitting streak to nine games. He now has 12 extra base hits with the Hawks after totaling only 11 last season in three months between Boise and the Cubs' rookie league in Mesa. Brandon Taylor hit a two-run homer, his third since joining the team after this year's draft. He and first baseman Chris Gaskin currently lead the club with three roundtrippers.
Arizona League Notes
The Cubs' rookies had a league-worst 8-16 record before edging the Mariners 9-8 on Friday. Through their first 25 games, first baseman Russell Canzler and OF Deryck Lewis lead the team with a .348 batting average and 10 extra base hits each. Lewis has hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games and has struck out only four times in 23 contests. He trails only OF Ryan Episcopo for the team lead in RBIs with 17. A little more closer to the big leagues, Nomar Garciaparra made his first appearance on rehab Friday and finished 1-for-2 with a strikeout.
First round pick Mark Pawelek has a 0.56 ERA in six starts despite a 0-3 record. Pawelek's 22 strikeouts lead the team. He has allowed seven hits for a .132 opponents average. Second round pick Donald Veal opted for professional ball over college life at TCU and debuted on Tuesday from the bullpen. He pitched one inning and faced five batters, allowing a hit and walking one to go with one strikeout.